With effect from 1st March, 2012, all Cisco academies in Uganda are supposed to adopt a new operating model Ã¢‚¬ the Open Model. Ã¢‚¬Å“The new model, as opposed to the previous hierarchical model allows the academies to choose where to get services conveniently and at competitive rates,Ã¢‚¬ said Drake Patrick Mirembe, Head of the Centre for Innovations and Professional Skills Development at the College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS). Drake is also the Cisco Legal Main Contact for UgandaÃ¢‚¬„¢s regional academy.
Drake added that the new model brings Cisco closer to local academies than has been the case and this implies closer supervision of the training and quality graduates. In the new model, Cisco Local Academies will be referred to as Cisco Academies while regional academies will become Cisco Academy Support Centres and/or Instructor Training Centers. This transformation is aimed at ensuring that the academies have equal opportunities, ensuring transparency and consistency in services delivered and facilitating the formation of collaborations among Cisco training partners.
Drake was speaking during a recent Cisco Quality Assurance Seminar held at the College of Computing and Information Sciences, Makerere University. During the seminar, it was also revealed that all Cisco Instructors will soon undergo a re-evaluation exercise to gauge their pedagogical, presentation and technical skills. This exercise, according to Drake is aimed at ensuring that all Cisco Academies have valid qualified instructors equipped with current and comprehensive instructorsÃ¢‚¬„¢ skills. The qualification exercise will be conducted by the Cisco Technical Area Manager for Africa, Mr. Serges based in South Africa.
During the seminar, the participants discussed the quality assurance metric from each academy. The report, complied by the CoCIS Cisco Academy (which also serves as the regional Cisco Academy), revealed that; most academies lacked updated equipment, a significant number of the instructors were not certified, the academies also lacked a cross-cutting harmonious assessment framework and there was lack of support from the top management in the host institutions especially in terms of availing resources to purchase relevant equipment and enable instructors participate in ongoing professional development courses.
It was recommended that all academies should certify their instructors within two months and if they were to participate in the new model, their instructors will have to be re-evaluated and qualified by the Cisco Technical Area Manager in March, 2012. The academies were urged to adopt the assessment model used by the CoCIS Regional Academy, they should also submit their equipment upgrade plans within one month if they are to remain in the Cisco Network. In addition, the academies were advised to lobby their top management to support their initiatives by coming up with sound operational business plans.
Deborah Natuujuna, the Coordinator-CoCIS Regional Academy, urged the participants to develop work plans and proposals and be ready to participate in the different Cisco initiatives.
During the 2012 academic year, the Cisco Networking Academies in Uganda will conduct instructor training sessions, Instructor Re-tooling, a workshop on communication and pedagogy, student competitions, a school outreach programme and publish one media supplement.
During the same function, three students who participated in last yearÃ¢‚¬„¢s Cisco Netridders Competition for Africa and the Middle East were given presents from Cisco. These were Innocentia Kemigisha, Treasure Nambi and Ann Agweyo. Speaking while handing over the presents, Prof. Ikoja Odongo, the Principal of the College of Computing and Information Sciences, called upon the participants to Ã¢‚¬Å“always seek initiatives aimed at improving their pedagogical skills.Ã¢‚¬ He encouraged the students to always take advantage of any opportunity to further their career. Prof. Ikoja, who further appealed to the College students who participated in the competition to raise the Makerere flag higher also, encouraged other institutions to borrow a leaf from CoCIS and participate in such international competition as a means of benchmarking the quality of their services.
As part of its initiative to support female enrollment in computer-based courses, the Centre for Innovations and Professional Skills Development (CiPSD) offered Kemigisha a full scholarship to cover her CCNP course while Ann got a 50% discount on any programme she will pursue at the CoCIS, Center for Innovation and Professional Skills Development
The seminar was attended by managers from 12 Cisco Academies in Uganda plus instructors and students from the College of Computing and Information Sciences.